European Commissioner Telicka still waiting for official explanation for his dismissal

Vladimir Spidla, photo: CTK

Last Friday, the ruling coalition parties — the Social Democrats, the Christian Democrats and the Freedom Union — announced they had agreed to send outgoing Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla to Brussels to take over for the Czech Republic's current European Union Commissioner, Pavel Telicka. Mr Telicka has yet to receive official notice of — or an explanation for — his dismissal. He first learned of his planned dismissal from a friend. This weekend, during a trip to Prague, he hoped to get some answers from acting leader of the Social Democrats, Stanislav Gross, the Prime Minister designate. However, Mr Gross was out of town and apparently neither the other party leaders nor his future successor in Brussels, Vladimir Spidla, felt it necessary to provide an explanation.

Vladimir Spidla,  photo: CTK
Radio Prague spoke to the current European Commissioner upon his return to Brussels and asked him how he felt about Friday's decision:

"These are just pure facts and there is very little that I can add to what I have already said. The coalition has met to the let's say more negative position of the leadership, the Christian Democrats, who had some difficulties with my nomination already in March. We now see the Freedom Union and the Social Democrats joining them and deciding on the annulment of the decision by the [outgoing] government, which gave me the mandate until 2009 and proposing Mr Spidla, the resigning prime minister, to be the future commissioner, or at least a candidate. And these are just facts, which of course [I am reflecting on] but nothing changes for me. I will continue in the next three months as usual, as in the highly professional way as I have been performing my mandate so far."

When asked why he had decided to have Mr Telicka replaced, Stanislav Gross, entrusted with the formation of a new government, said he would like to use the expertise Mr Telicka gained as Commissioner and the Czech Republic's Ambassador to Brussels back at home, to work on issues of national concern. Mr Gross also refuted the claim that Mr Telicka's mandate was to be until 2009. But Mr Telicka disagrees:

"The mandate was clearly until 2009. That was the decision of the government. Only two members of the government voted against it and one abstained. They were Christian Democrats and the rest voted in favour. In fact, it was the prime minister [Vladimir Spidla] himself who asked me, when I was the ambassador to the European Union, to accept the offer to be the Czech Commissioner until 2009. So, I have taken that decision, I accepted it. I have established a team and we performed. I must say that I read this explanation this morning in the papers. I can only say that I am ready to see Mr Gross, probably next weekend, and I will be curious about the reasons behind it, of course. I am awaiting the official information of the decision of the coalition and then also the reasoning behind it and only then will I be able to assess the whole situation and start thinking of what I will be doing in the future."